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Africa Should not Celebrate Yet on its Growth Prospects

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Posted on 21st November, 2012by Prof. ATPS Admin

Africa’s growth if not driven by a diversified production structure essentially in manufacturing that would deliver quality jobs and raise incomes, would remain trepid, fragile and susceptible to negative shocks, according to Prof. Osita Ogbu, the director of the Institute for Development Studies based at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

While giving a key note address titled The Fragility of the Recent Africa’s Growth and the Opportunity for Creating Jobs through a New Technology and Industrial Policy, Prof. Osita notes that Africa should not celebrate yet about its recent growth and continued prospects.

And, according to his paper, there is an emerging consensus on new industrial and technology policy regime that if well crafted, contextualized and implemented, could stimulate greater manufacturing in Africa and lead to structural change.

Prof. Osita notes that historically, industrial policy in various shades has always been used by every nation to climb the industrialization ladder.

“Unfortunately, Africa’s initial attempts were not very successful. Rather than re-strategize, Africa and those advising Africa abandoned this strategy completely in spite of its being responsible for the basic industrial structure that currently exist,” he said, adding that there is now a greater opportunity for African governments and the organized private sector to work together to address the problems that have hindered the emergence of a dynamic manufacturing sector in Africa.

However, Africa still has a number of opportunities to exploit.

“These opportunities include the emerging consensus in industrial policy, the rising cost of production in China, the youth force in Africa and the existence of basic manufacturing hubs,” said Prof. Osita.

He spoke during the ongoing ATPS 2012 annual conference being held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, under the theme Emerging paradigms, technologies and innovations for sustainable development: global imperatives and African realities which brought together researchers, academia, policy makers and innovators.

The conference is reflecting on a post Rio +20 futures for Africa.

Despite all Africa’s presumed economic growth, Prof. Osita notes that the continent’s growth is still very fragile.

“In spite of the impressive growth rates, Africa’s economic transformation has not occurred, and any talk of structural shift is not backed by evidence,” he observed.

And for Africa to fast track its development and growth agenda, Prof. Osita notes that Africa needs growth based on industrialization and Science, Technology and Innovation (STI).

“There should be a link between STI policies and the economic agenda so that one can be seen to be driving the other,” he said.

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